Radiation biology of mosquitoes

Malaria Journal
M E H HelinskiB G J Knols


There is currently renewed interest in assessing the feasibility of the sterile insect technique (SIT) to control African malaria vectors in designated areas. The SIT relies on the sterilization of males before mass release, with sterilization currently being achieved through the use of ionizing radiation. This paper reviews previous work on radiation sterilization of Anopheles mosquitoes. In general, the pupal stage was irradiated due to ease of handling compared to the adult stage. The dose-response curve between the induced sterility and log (dose) was shown to be sigmoid, and there was a marked species difference in radiation sensitivity. Mating competitiveness studies have generally been performed under laboratory conditions. The competitiveness of males irradiated at high doses was relatively poor, but with increasing ratios of sterile males, egg hatch could be lowered effectively. Males irradiated as pupae had a lower competitiveness compared to males irradiated as adults, but the use of partially-sterilizing doses has not been studied extensively. Methods to reduce somatic damage during the irradiation process as well as the use of other agents or techniques to induce sterility are discussed. It is concluded that the op...Continue Reading


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